27 October 2011

Nerd in Utero Project: Induction and BIRTHday

7:00pm, Monday, 17 October 2011
We're checking into the hospital with a woman named Mary Moore in Labor and Delivery.  She has a mid-western accent, and I'm loving the fact that she's wearing butt-shaping shoes with her blouse and slacks.  She gathers all the necessary info from us before we are admitted.  After scanning in all signed paperwork and my driver's license, she has printed our wrist bands.  Real-life "I'm-going-to-be-a-parent-soon" hospital wrist bands.  Not the kind for being admitted to the ER with gastroenteritis like the last time I stayed in a hospital bed.  Mary Moore asks us if we are nervous.  I'm feeling pretty relaxed and ready to get this show on the road.  Michael is more anxious, praying for the upcoming events to go smoothly so that I'm not uncomfortable and for our baby to be delivered safely.

8:00pm, 17 October: Ready to hit the runway in this 2011 designer hospital gown.  Do they make matching heels?

8:01pm, 17 October: Last photo together before parenthood.  We were in for a long night.

8:30pm, 17 October: I can handle getting shots, but I really hate IV needles in my arm. 

8:30pm, Monday, 17 October 2011
Our nurse for the night was Marcy.  Cute, blonde, gentle Marcy.  She was exactly the kind of nurse one dreams of when you are in the hospital to have a baby.  She found it funny that I wanted to watch ESPN and Monday Night Football with my husband during the induction process.  Everything she did was by the book, but she was all smiles and laughter.  My veins impressed her as she was trying to decide which one to insert the IV needle into, even giving me 3 choices of where I would like wear the needle for the next few days.  But when the first vein rolled, she apologized and had to move to one on the side of my wrist.  She also apologized when she had to insert the Cervidil that would induce my labor.  Apparently, you needed GPS to find my cervix, it was so high.  Marcy felt bad for my discomfort, but I was too excited about what our end result would be to let a little cervical pain bother me.

Then Marcy explained the 3 scenarios that could play out once the Cervidil was in place.
  1. Nothing could happen at all.  No contractions.  No dilation.  Perfectly good hormone insert wasted and Pitocin would have to be given through my IV line instead to induce.
  2. Contractions would begin and last for several hours.  Baby would arrive sometime the next day.
  3. Contractions would come on so quickly and strongly that we could have the baby within 4 hours of induction.
We were fortunate to have experienced Scenario #2.

The fetal heart rate monitor was strapped low across my enormous belly bulge.  It was no bother.  Marcy warned me, though, that the contraction monitor would feel as if I was being poked by something sharp and would most likely leave me uncomfortable.  She couldn't have been more right.  I still have an irritated imprint on my skin.

Somewhere between 3rd and 4th quarter of the Jets vs. Dolphins game
The first few contractions registered on the screen, and I couldn't feel them.  But when the contractions had be sitting straight up in my bed, we called for Marcy to bring me a half dose of Nubain.  Talk about insta-drunk.  Watching the Jets run the ball on a screen that was now fuzzy through my eyes was rather tricky.  It was merely a matter of minutes before the intensity of my contractions could hardly be felt and I was able to doze off.

All Night Long...17-18 October, 2011
Eventually, the Nubain wore off and extra doses weren't helping to relieve me of the pain of my contractions.  Michael tried his best to get sleep on his pull-out bed beside me, but the fact I had to vocalize my pain kept him from getting much at all.  He fetched me ice chips when I was parched, dug through my purse to give me ChapStick when my grimacing cracked my lips, and rubbed my back when I needed a distraction from the pain.

With all the pain endured during the night, we hoped the morning would bring news of significant dilation.  Marcy removed my Cervidil just before 7:00am.  After several hours of contractions, I was at only 2cm.  Ugh.

8:00am, Tuesday, 18 October, 2011
The nurse staff changed, and we now had nurse Pat and her shadowing nursing student, Kim.  Nurse Pat was easily in her 60s, so she was a master in delivering babies.  Kim was maybe 22, quiet, laughed nervously when someone cracked a joke.  Pat would ask Kim to do something, and then change her mind and do it herself.  They would be by my side for the rest of the day.

Received epidural and started Pitocin in my IV.  Relief.  Contractions intensified.

Baby Nerd wasn't liking the sudden changes, and her heart rate was showing her irritation.  So Pat put an oxygen mask on me and turned me on my side.

Dr. Goggin came by to check my progress (4cm…things were moving slowly…) and to break my water.  Even though I was I numb, I could feel the pressure being released from my swollen body.  And just as the great doc had predicted, I was a gusher.  Even Pat--with all of her years of experience in L&D--was shocked by the amount of fluid.

The baby was still irritated by everything going on with my body.  The oxygen mask that had been removed before breaking my water was replaced.  They turned me on my side again.  Baby Nerd's heart rate did come back to a normal range, but with these warning signs she was giving us, there was now talk of the possibility of cord wrap.  We were starting to get edgy, but they encouraged me to rest a while since the most taxing part was yet to come.  Our TV was still tuned to ESPN.  We watched Skip Bayless host First Take while we tried to relax.

Hooked up to the oxygen to calm little Mallory.  It helped, and I was able to rest.
Nurse Pat checked me again.  We were 8-9cm.  How did we progress that quickly?  Pushing would begin soon.  When the nurses walked out of the room to call Dr. Goggin in an attempt to get him to the hospital earlier than anticipated, I turned to my husband and said, "Hand me my compact.  I want to look presentable for our baby when she arrives."  Time for my game face.

Fully dilated.  Started pushing.  Pat was on one side, Kim on the other.  Michael stayed near my head, continuing to be the rock star husband he had been all night.  Ice chips, ChapStick, more ice chips.  Deep breath, push, count to ten, repeat for an hour.

Charge nurse walked in looking for Pat.  She needed help delivering a baby in another room.  Seeing that I was in the middle of pushing, the charge nurse said, "Nevermind!" and backed out of the room.

Pat asked me to push harder.  It was difficult to tell just how hard I was pushing, so I just scrunched up my face a little more than before.  It must have worked.  I was commended for my efforts.

Dr. Goggin finally arrived for the homestretch.  Based on the fetal heart rate, he was also expecting cord wrap.  He carefully instructed me on how he wanted me to push so we could avoid causing fetal distress.  He also announced he would have to make room in order to get her out, but not much (I would require 2 stitches only).  I followed all directions.  Michael watched and held my hand.  Dr. Goggin's glasses showed the reflection of what was going on down below, and since my belly was blocking my view from up top, I occasionally watched the action in his spectacles.

The nurses got fed up with ESPN being on in the background.  They turned it off.  Bye, bye, interview with Hines Ward.


Baby Mallory Olivia enters the world! Just as predicted, she had cord wrap: around her neck and her thigh.

Mallory poops all over Dr. Goggin.  He's laughing, holding a newborn covered in meconium all down her front side.  He exclaims that 2 ounces of birth weight were in that poop.

Daddy cuts the cord.

Michael does his first job as Mallory's daddy: cutting the cord.

A cleaned-up Mallory is placed on my chest for our first skin-to-skin contact.  Tears in our eyes, we are finally holding our long-awaited baby girl.

She's here!  And we're in love!

Get those footprints for the baby book.

7 lb. 13 oz.; 20.5 in long.

Daddy-daughter time.  A grown man wrapped around the tiniest of fingers.

16 October 2011

What Pregnancy Taught Me

Our nine-month journey has taught me many things...

  • A woman finding out that she's going to be a first-time grandmother can scream quite loudly.
  • One's girlfriends are more valuable than gold.
The ladies of 5th grade.  Honestly, I don't know what I would do without them.
  • My doctor's nickname for "linea negra" is "the racing stripe".
  • Bending over the bathroom counter to pluck your eyebrows is impossible with a baby bump.
  • Swelling is way more painful than predicted.
  • Having a 6-page birthing plan is not for me.  I trust that my doctor, my body, and our labor will guide us through each step of the delivery.
  • The view of the TV has changed quite a bit…
Football Saturdays--not what they used to be.
  • When you have convinced yourself that your students find you strict and ready to see you take your maternity leave, they throw you a going-away party, shower you with gifts, and cry their cute little eyeballs out at the thought of you not being there for the next 9 weeks of their learning.
My current 5th graders after chowing down on pink-iced cupcakes and cheddar popcorn.
Wait…they're going to miss me?  Their tears are sincere!

  • The Asian women you meet out in public don't ask, "What are you having?"  Instead, they inquire, "Are you having a boy?"
  • Being "checked out" when you're not expecting can be flattering.  Being checked out by 3 dudes in a local Chick-fil-A when you are obviously pregnant?  Kinda creepy.
  • Shaving your legs while pregnant should be an Olympic sport.
  • There is nothing more thrilling than feeling your baby kick inside your womb.
  • Trading in your beloved pick-up truck (yeah, the one used for fishing trips and off-roading) for a family vehicle is tough.
My brother bought my truck before we purchased our station wagon.  At least it's still in the family!
  • When you are in the homestretch of your pregnancy, folks don't look at you with the same smiles and excitement as they did 2-3 months ago.  Instead, they laugh at your waddle (ahem, excuse me…pregnancy swagger) or expressions of, "Bless her heart--she looks simply miserable!"
  • Flushing public toilets with your foot doesn't happen anymore.  You're lucky enough to lift your feet high enough to put on pants and shoes each day.
  • The things you used to put all kinds of energy and effort into (like cooking or cleaning your house) are replaced with as many naps as your schedule allows.
  • A husband becomes invested in his genetic creation long before she's born.
Already doting on his little girl.
  • No matter what kind of baby budget you put yourself on, you end up spending a little more than you would like to admit.  I mean, who says "no" to an infant-sized collegiate jersey, even if it costs more than a pack of 5 onesies?
  • Diapers and wipes as gifts RULE!
  • (So do offers of friends and family bringing you meals to your house.)
  • Being sick while pregnant is the absolute pits.  Two separate viruses brought me to my knees (literally--over the toilet with convulsions), and I'm grateful to have recovered from both.
  • Keeping a blog on your TTC life and pregnancy progression can bring you closer to friends and introduce you to some pretty awesome new ones.
  • I actually CAN get pregnant.  I just needed a little help.  :)
Our very first positive PT.  It feels as if we read this just yesterday!
  • Lots and lots of pink still scares me...

11 October 2011

Nerd in Utero Project: Did We Just Choose a Birthday?

Today was my last regular OB appointment.  Dr. Goggin even said so.
After today, the next time I'll be seeing you will be to deliver your baby!
Holy birthday cake, Batman.  Michael and I will be parents next week.

As with every appointment I schedule at Dr. Goggin's office, I made every effort to arrive on time.  Bad weather slowed me down, and half of the pregnant women in Athens, GA were waiting ahead of me to see the great doctor once I got there.  I was not seen at my scheduled time of 3:30.  It was nearly 5:00 when Michael and I were finally escorted to an exam room.  We were under the impression that Baby Nerd would be measured via ultrasound during this visit and were a little disappointed when the nurse led us to a room without the necessary equipment.
Me: Are we not measuring her today?  He mentioned it a couple of weeks ago since she measured larger than normal back in August.
Patti: I don't have it in your chart, but I tell you what.  I'll put you in this exam room so he can check your cervix first.  If he feels the need to run an ultrasound, I'll make sure that room is clear for you.
That was a good enough answer for me.  Once in our room, Michael sank into a comfy chair and tried not to lose consciousness due to a lack of sleep from the night before.  Since I was to undress from the waist down for this visit, I twisted the blinds in the room shut (didn't want folks in the parking lot catching a free show) and positioned myself on the exam table, covering myself up with a sheet.  Roughly 10 minutes passed before Dr. Goggin walked in.
Funny story, guys.  Patti stopped me in the hallway and asked if I had heard about Vikki Wynne.  And I looked at her worriedly and asked, "Is she in labor?"  I thought the moment had finally come!
Michael and I looked at each other, then at the doc, and made a comment about how we wish that were the case.  Dr. Goggin wasn't surprised, but did remark at how good I looked considering I am so close to the end.  He could tell that the way I felt didn't match the way I looked.  So he asked me to explain how I had been feeling since our last visit.
Me: I've been hurting all over my body, but mostly from the baby's movements.  She kicks so hard!  Then there's the nausea.  Had it since Saturday.  My ankles finally swelled up like balloons. [to which he laughed and pointed out that my right ankle was significantly larger than the left--said it was because the uterus tips to the right]  It's hard for me to breathe and get comfortable doing anything.  And on top of it all, I'm in a struggle with my county over maternity leave.
The doc offered genuine sympathy, knowing that many of his patients suffered the same symptoms and even butted heads with their employers' HR policies.  While reassuring me that he would write a doctor's note to take that stressful item off my plate, he reached behind him and seemed to claw at his backside.  I figured he had a wedgie.

Then he checked Baby Nerd's heartbeat.  Strong and so very loud.  She even kicked at him while he ran the machine across my belly.  Gloved up, the doc then checked my cervix.  Still closed, but he let us know again that my pelvis was healthy to try for a vaginal delivery.  All good news.

But when would we deliver?  Waiting until the 26th was not something I wanted to do.  I am too uncomfortable, and Michael is probably tired of hearing me complain.

Dr. Goggin turned to his calendar, counting weeks and considering the baby's development.  He talked of dilation, amniotic fluid, and drugs, looking up at the ceiling and trying to work out a labor and delivery formula.  Twice more he made adjustments in the rear of his britches.
Sorry, guys.  It's just that my butt itches, and it's driving me crazy!
I wanted to hug him for being human.

And finally, we came to a decision.  The doc didn't want to try anything before the weekend.  After factoring in the health of our pregnancy, the excess of fluid I have in my uterus (he said to tell the nurse to lay down extra towels because I would be a "gusher"), and his expectations for how our delivery would most likely go, he said we would be scheduled to check into the hospital on Sunday night.

SUNDAY NIGHT.  That's only 5 days away.  Less than a week.

This time two years ago, I was starting the 5-month ovulatory desert.  This time last year, my hormones were dropping faster than the mercury in Manitoba.  And now, we are merely days away from bringing home a baby.

Michael and I thanked the doc for everything and watched him leave the exam room.  Once the door was latched shut, I looked at my husband and began fanning my face.  The hot tears in my eyes caused me to flush a dark shade of pink.  My husband wrapped his arms around me to calm the burst of emotion.  He might have believed I was anxious and anticipating painful labor, but the tears were ones of relief.

Our light at the end of the tunnel was finally here.  We had just picked out our little girl's birthday.

17 October 2011

05 October 2011

Nerd in Utero Project: FULL TERM!

Take 1: Vikki's giant head is in the way of the sign.

Take 2: That's better!

To celebrate reaching the end of the pregnancy road, this Nerd in Utero entry will focus on a few of our favorite memories from the incredible 9-month journey.

Best decision ever made in OB/GYN care (pre-pregnancy, of course):
That would be taking many of my girlfriends' advice and choosing Dr. Goggin and his practice.  He casually walks into the examination room, strikes up conversation on subjects that are both interesting and incredibly nerdy (our cup of tea!!!), and makes you feel that you have known him for 20 years.  Never have I met another doctor with such a remarkable bedside manner and an appreciation for a patient's corny jokes.  And to the girls who told me this before I ever met the man: I, too, want to grab a  comb from my purse fix his hair.  It always has the just-rolled-out-of-bed look from being in and out of surgical caps all day.  He'd probably let you do it!

Favorite "Holy Crap, We're Gonna Be Parents!" moment:
Hands down, it has to be when Michael and I went to our first ultrasound.  Sure all the at-home pregnancy tests proved we were pregnant, but nothing compares to seeing your tiny jelly bean of a baby on that screen or hearing the resonating whooshing sound of their heartbeat.  I anticipated being a ball of emotion during this visit.  No tears were shed.  We just stared in wonderment at what the sonogram presented to us.  There was a lot of "Just look at that!" and "Wow, that's our baby!"  Minus one more ultrasound, the next time we see Mallory, she will be out of the womb.

Mallory's first picture, before we knew she was a "Mallory".

Favorite reaction to the pregnancy news:
I had asked a few close friends/former co-workers to a Chik-fil-A lunch in order to make the announcement.  Out of the 4 invited, Leah (who brought along her tiny daughter, Elizabeth) was the only one able to attend.  We settled into our booth and began feasting on the fried goodness that is the classic chicken sandwich.  I didn't have a fancy plan to help me let the cat out of the bag, so between a bite of sandwich and a sip of sweet tea, I proclaimed, "I'm pregnant!"  Leah had been helping Elizabeth with her chicken nuggets by pulling them into smaller bites when my announcement came tumbling out.  While guiding a piece of chicken toward Elizabeth's mouth, Leah's hand froze and the corners of her lips turned up in a giant smile.  "I knew that's why you asked me to lunch!" she exclaimed.  And then, as quickly as her face had lit up like Christmas morning, her lip began to tremble and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.  "After all that you and Michael have been through, you deserve this.  You are going to be such an amazing mommy."  Then the tears sprang from my own eyes over the sense of love and support coming from my friend of 8 years and counting.  We laughed at ourselves for crying in a Chik-fil-A and dabbed at our faces with restaurant napkins.

Tear-jerker baby gift memory:
Very early in our pregnancy, one of Michael's co-workers, Selma, gave us a copy of The Trumpet of the Swan.  Most are probably thinking; "It's a book, and that's cool. What's the big deal?"  Well, Michael's mother will proudly tell you the story about how she brought this book home for her daughter, Melissa, to read because she was at an age where she could easily read chapter books.  Somehow, Michael (who was in KINDERGARTEN at the time) got his hands on the book and read every single page.  And he read it again…and again…and again…  He will tell you to this day that this is his favorite book from childhood, recalling certain passages almost word for word and the images conjured up by E. B. White's powerfully descriptive language.  I read it one summer and even read it aloud to my students one school year.  It was easy to see why the book always "stuck" with him.  Upon seeing the gift when Michael brought it home from work, I couldn't help but cry a tear or two.  Now we have a copy Michael's favorite book that will belong to our little Mallory.  And who knows?  Maybe she'll read it in kindergarten.

Favorite destination while pregnant:
There were so many memories from our road trip: the Grand Canyon, Arches NP, Canyonlands, Jackson Hole.  But I think if I had to pick one spot on the map as a "favorite", I would have to say that Four Corners National Monument takes the cake.  Standing in 4 states at one time with a baby in my belly was a very unique experience.  Just how many babies can say they did that?

Family of 3 standing in 4 states.

Favorite Mojo memory:
Like a parent who checks every piece of candy for their children on Halloween night, Mojo always "checks" every baby gift that enters our home.  I'm sure he does it because he hopes that the gifts are for him, but deep down, I think he wants to make sure everything is safe for Mallory.

"All clear!  This one's safe for Baby Nerd."

As for now?  I'm huge.  The baby is huge.  Her uterine disco party is disturbing all nearby internal organs.  My pregnancy swagger is out of control.  PJs are the only clothes worth wearing (too bad I can't wear them to work).  I'm ready to start "Operation Home Induction" ASAP.  Bring on the castor oil, bumpy rides in the truck, and lots of spicy food.

Mallory Olivia, you are fully cooked.  Now is not the time to be stubborn like your momma or sleepy like your daddy.  We are perfectly fine with you coming in the middle of the night or trying to break free when I'm in the middle of teaching my students how to reduce fractions.  Your daddy and I are ready to meet you and share you with the world.  See you soon, Baby Nerd.


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